The Asia Foundation Expands Urban Governance Leadership with Bangkok Workshop
Bangkok, October 21, 2014 — On October 2-3, 2014, The Asia Foundation’s Governance and Law unit held an Urban Governance Workshop that brought together program staff, selected external urban governance experts, and the Foundation’s senior staff to share perspectives and develop new strategies to address challenges associated with rapid urbanization in Asia.
Asia is now home to 16 of the world’s 20 megacities, and the region’s urban population is expected to double in the next two decades. At the same time, rapid urbanization presents tremendous challenges for the governments of the region. To address these important challenges, the Foundation has launched an urban governance initiative.
Since the start of the initiative, the Foundation has collaborated with specialists in Vietnam, India, and Sri Lanka to explore the major urban challenges facing those countries. At the workshop, staff from those offices presented preliminary plans for addressing urban challenges associated with municipal finance, citizen engagement, land tenure, climate change, service delivery, and women’s security. The workshop also provided an opportunity for Foundation experts across the region to share their knowledge of strategies and approaches currently being used to strengthen urban governance.
In Ulaanbaatar, for instance, the Foundation recently worked with community members in unplanned urban neighborhoods to create an accurate estimate of the population of those areas and the services available there. From here, city residents engaged in data-based discussions about their needs and priorities, and voiced these directly to the government.
Discussions of innovative urban programs such as this enabled workshop participants to develop a shared understanding of the governance challenges facing the region. Participants agreed that effective programming should take a multi-disciplinary approach incorporating expertise in governance, technology, municipal finance, economics, environment, and gender.
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